Poetry

Not a butterfly

[August 2019]

On a cobblestone road in Old Montreal

walking back home on a late Summer night

still shaking for the conversations

I had had that day

shaking my head

how could I have done it again?

I was wrong, again,

wrong, again; wrong, again;

I was wrong, again.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

… … …

That wave behind my shoulders

the awareness of my wrongness

was a weight I had carried for years

a lump in the throat, a new burst of tears.

I had done it, done it again

given someone else a glimpse of that weight

instead of hiding it, carefully, at all times

keeping Pandora’s box closed behind my eyes.

And now it was theirs

theirs to carry, and blame me for that

theirs to control, and shame me if I did that.

All for that little glimpse, not even a touch

didn’t I know, naive, a glimpse was too much?

I was wrong, again,

wrong, again; wrong, again;

I was wrong, again.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

… … …

I wanted to be like a butterfly

that’s the solution I then decided

gently and lightly flying here and there

without ever burdening anyone at all

not giving the tiniest glimpse of that weight

I’d have brought no annoyance, no matter how small.

I wanted to be like a butterfly

leaving the land behind me with no signs

of my passage,

of my intensity

of me being wrong

in my diversity.

I was wrong, again,

wrong, again; wrong, again.

But being like a butterfly…

would have made me OK again.

… … …

I had committed that mistake again

of being too intense for anyone to bear

except I had not, because, and now hear

allowing a glimpse isn’t giving consent

I didn’t give it, so now don’t pretend

I gave you permission to manage my life

that’s just you being condescending

even if you think you’re being nice.

My mistake, if anything, was that

when this had happened I had not fought back,

defended my boundaries, and my own right

to be in charge of my own life,

reaffirmed my agency, my power to fly

a respectable adult eagle in the sky.

I wasn’t wrong again,

and maybe I had never been

I’m not a wrong being, I know that one bit

but after adapting, spineless, for years,

will I ever live it, and believe it?

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